Britain used to be one of the largest exporters of textiles in the world. You name it, we made it. Then one day, the factories closed their doors, made their staff redundant and sent the work to far away shores for cheaper labour. The profit margin increased, sure, but at a cost that would span over generations. That precious home made art form was gone, just like that.
Except it wasn't exactly gone. The people remained, after all, full to the brim with all this knowledge and skill that remained dormant without the work to exploit it. Years of training, blood, sweat, tears and hard work were, for the most part, useless to them.
The story was no different for Cardigan in South Wales, which was once a bustling hub for denim making. A 400 strong team made 35,000 pairs of jeans a week, until the trade left town. It was all that untapped expertise and passion that the Hieatts tapped into when they started from scratch and created Hiut Denim.
Despite knowing very little about running a factory - a fact they will both admit honestly and humbly - they set one up anyway and employed the right people to fill it. This team is lovingly revered as 'Grandmasters', because each one of them can make a pair of jeans from start to finish, a rare skill that takes them far beyond the title of 'machinist' in the Hieatt's eyes. They believe whole heartedly in the people they employ, and it's an appreciation of their staff that runs so deep as to be embedded in the bones of every business they touch. Good people. Happy people. People that feel treasured and content in their job ...
This is what runs Hiut at its heart.
So what do Hiut do? They make jeans. Really, it's as simple as that. They make jeans locally, they make them honestly and they make them ethically. Their core principles are not relative, they do not bend according to person, profit or priority. What they believe in remains steadfast and unshakable throughout everything they do. From inception to execution the jeans are made with expertise, care and quality, in a bright and airy creative environment that seems as far away from the archetypal 'factory' as you could get without losing functionality.
The ceilings are high, the windows big and the surfaces panelled with wood. The space embraces you, rather than consuming you whole as you would expect with a factory. The hum of machines is not an obnoxious, painful clatter but a gentle murmur running beneath the day's music choice played over the more than decent sound system Dave insisted they have to keep the team motivated throughout the day. In return, the Grandmasters calmly and efficiently create beautiful, untarnished jeans to the very best of their ability ... which sits comfortably above 'incredible', by the way.
With their Women's line of jeans recently launched, I'm predicting big things for Hiut and there's no one I've ever met that deserves it more.
Visit : www.hiutdenim.co.uk